Barnes marks 100 Tests with a touch of history
England referee Wayne Barnes will mark his 100th Test at Cardiff on Sunday (NZT) by starting the game with the whistle used in the famous 1905 Test between Wales and the All Blacks.
Barnes’ career is not without controversy after his missing of a French forward pass that led to a key try in the All Blacks’ semi-final exit from the 2007 Rugby World Cup, also in Cardiff.
But his gesture is a connection with an even greater controversy.
Wales and All Blacks jerseys from 1905. Photo courtesy Toby Goodman.
Wales won the 1905 Test 3-0, the only loss of the tour for Dave Gallaher’s men. The game has forever been remembered for the non-awarding of a try to All Blacks centre Bob Deans who maintained, until his premature death in 1908 from complications after an appendix operation, that he had scored a fair try.
Scotsman John Dallas, known as Jack, thought otherwise, ruling Deans was grounded short of the line and calling for a five-yard scrum.
Dallas was appointed to the game after the All Blacks had rejected four referees put forward by Wales. New Zealand was not consulted about his appointment.
He had played one Test and had refereed for only two seasons. The Wales-All Blacks game was his first Test match appointment.
The Welsh had presented Dallas with a whistle for the game, but he discarded it when finding it was too slow in response and its note was too low.
Dallas kept the whistle presented by the Welsh until his death at which time his wife gave both it and the whistle he used for the Test and for every match he refereed throughout his career, to former Western Mail journalist J.B.G. 'Bryn' Thomas. The presentation whistle was given to the Welsh Rugby Union and later the match whistle used by Dallas was sold at auction in Cardiff in 1997.
It was then sold at another auction, in London, in 2021 secured by a New Zealand teacher working in England, Toby Goodman.
The whistle still had a hand-written note made by Dallas attached to it. He remarked the game was 'a grand contest' between the two finest XVs he saw. He thought New Zealand were both 'a bit stale and were over anxious' while Wales had great backs and a fine pack.
He said he enjoyed the game and he did not find it difficult.
He returned to Edinburgh that night, leaving Cardiff by train at 7.30. It wasn't until reading the newspapers on Monday morning that he learned about the controversy of his non-awarding of the try scored by All Blacks centre Bob Deans.
Apart from his ruling Deans didn't score, Dallas went on to achieve some notable feats in refereeing.
He controlled the first Test played at Twickenham, between England and Wales on January 15, 1910. Dallas also became the first referee to be replaced during a Test when pulling a muscle in the Ireland-South Africa game in 1912, having earlier replaced a fellow Scotsman who fell ill before the game.